So technically Zoe started school 2 weeks ago, but it’s been a crazy few weeks… Not to worry, the first week of school (and leading up to it) are indelibly burned into my memory (sort of), so here goes.
First of all, for weeks leading up to school Zoe had to tell everyone, with a big smile, that she was “going to school.” Sounds great, but we wondered if that enthusiasm would wane once she realized school meant a) not being at home with her own stuff, b) not being with anyone she knows, and c) well, being at school and having to do as the teachers wished… Luckily, Zoe really DOES love school.
On the Thursday night before school started, Bart & I went to the school for orientation. We were given a handbook and trained on things like what to bring to lunch, what to wear, what to expect and how to pack an “emergency kit”. I swear I’d never thought of that and the mental image of lots of small children trapped in a school was the first moment I realized how far away we’d be in case of emergency (we’re actually less than half a mile away, unlike the 30 minutes to an hour we USED to be, but still, you get my point). We were told to expect a meltdown at some point during the first day, so to prepare to stay there all day. I asked if we should be insulted if she didn’t even notice we were in the room and just walked off to play. They chuckled at me with an “oh, you’ll see.”
So we spent the weekend obsessing over what to pack, labeling clothes and of all things obsessively buying shoes. I thought crocs were great – but not for playgrounds apparently. And somehow in just a few weeks’ time, our small child’s feet had blossomed from a 5.5 to almost a 7… Anyway, we did it. Thank goodness my mom was there to help and encourage us. Then the first day of school arrived, and we were ready.
Lunch packed with fruit, veggie, protein and a carb (no cookies). Check. Diaper bag with an extra set of clothes, diapers, wipes. Check. Special box with another set of clothes, diapers, wipes, photos of the family. Check. Two gallon ziplock with 2 extra sets of clothes, a jacket, socks and a flashlight. Check. Everything labeled. Check. Small, highly enthusiastic child. Check.
So like the nerds we are, we got her outside the front door and took photos. The best one of the three was when Bart said, “Say, YAY SCHOOL!”, and she did (above). On the way to school we sang songs, told her what to expect, and I frantically emailed the first day photo to everyone. We arrived at school and there were 4 kids on day one (awesome). Most kids in her class do Wed-Fri from 9 to 12:30. Zoe does Mon-Thurs from 8 to 6. We weren’t sure she’d make it, but she did… Turns out, she’s quite independent. At the beginning of the day, she wandered out of the room, wandered away from the “line” that took them inside/outside, and kept playing with toys while the other kids were “following the leader” in the class.
By the end of the day, the teachers were gushing about her, saying things like “Someone must be talking to her! I can understand everything she says!” and “She’s so independent! She was the first to go to sleep. She’s going to be great at school.” Turns out, she is. While they had us hang out in the office literally all day the first day “just in case”, by the end of that day, they only needed us 15 minutes the following morning, and we literally dropped her off the next.
Driving home was fun – she was ravenous and talkative and excited. Except for the 3rd day, when she was also exhausted and had a minor meltdown where she asked Daddy to sing “Twinkle, twinkle”, hugged her bear and calmed herself down. Honestly, we must be the luckiest parents on the planet. She is one special little girl!
Last Sunday I left the country to travel to our London office, our next hurdle… Sadly, she caught a cold on the first day back to school and Bart and my mom ended up having to watch her at home for most of the week. But as of yesterday, she’s better (Yay, School?), though let me tell you how tough it is to see your sick child on Skype when you’re thousands of miles away.
Tomorrow I head to Boston and will get home on Friday night. I can’t imagine how I’ll not wake her when I get in at 10 pm, because I miss her so much. And I have no idea how traveling parents survived the days before Skype when their families were a voice on a line – or less. So, I’ll say that overall, school’s a big hit, Zoe is awesome, and traveling is hard. But then, that wouldn’t have been much of a blog post. Cheerio!